E. A. Farrington was born in Williamsburg, NY, on January 1, 1847. In 1866 he graduated from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1867 he entered the Hahnemann Medical College, graduating in 1868. He entered practice immediately after his graduation, establishing himself on Mount Vernon Street.
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Veratrum album is not a difficult remedy to understand. It has been used since the days of Hahnemann for cholera Asiatica, cholera morbus and other abdominal affections. Its symptoms in this relation, are well known, but unless you are careful you will neglect an equally important use of the drug, and that is in mental symptoms. In poisoning with Veratrum, there are very few symptoms referable to the brain. It seems to act prominently on the abdominal organs, acting probably through the splanchnic nerves. When these nerves are paralyzed, the bloodvessels become over-charged with blood and pour forth their serum. In this respect, it is similar to ELATERIUM. The prostration, the coldness and the terrible sinking sensation that belong to Veratrum all start from these nerves. But Veratrum may affect the brain as well. Even then, the symptoms are not unlikely to be associated with coldness, weakness, etc.
We may have Veratrum album indicated in delirium. That you should notice particularly, as, in this respect, it becomes closely allied
apparently to BELLADONNA. The delirium is associated with restlessness, with desire to cut and tear the clothing, loquacity, and rapid earnest loud talking ; he strikes those about him; anxiety; frightened at imaginary things; lasciviousness; lewdness in talk ; he springs out of bed and rushes about the room as if thereby to obtain relief. Thus far the symptoms are such that you can with difficulty only, distinguish them from those of BELLADONNA and STRAMONIUM. The distinction lies here: VERATRUM ALBUM HAS COLDNESS OF THE SURFACE OF THE BODY WITH COLD SWEAT ON THE FOREHEAD. Sometimes the face is red and the lips are blue, and there is tingling through the limbs.
Veratrum album is also suitable for women when they seem to have abnormal mental impressions arising from disturbance in the sexual sphere; in nymphomania, for instance. The patient is lewd to an extreme. She rushes about the room endeavoring to kiss every one. These attacks are especially prone to appear before each menstrual period. She is constantly framing lies of the most outrageous character.
Veratrum is also to be thought of when after fright, there is great coldness of the body with diarrhoea. GELSEMIUM also has diarrhoea after fright. Under Veratrum, it is associated with coldness and prostration.
Now for some of the abdominal symptoms. Veratrum album is indicated in affections of the bowels, in cholera morbus, cholera infantum and cholera Asiatica and in intussusception of the bowels. The stools in the diarrhoea calling for Veratrum are profuse, watery and greenish, containing sometimes little flakes that look like spinach. At times, too, they are bloody and are always associated with sharp cutting pains in the abdomen and often too, with cramps in the limbs. There is great weakness and almost fainting with every effort at stool. There is very little vomiting. Cold sweat on the forehead is present.
In the various choleraic affections, Veratrum is indicated by the following symptoms: Vomiting and purging at the same time, colicky pains through the abdomen with cramps, especially in the calves of the legs, profuse watery stools, ricewater stools as they are called. They are attended with great prostration and cold sweat especially on the forehead. It is useless to give Veratrum in choleraic affections unless there is pain. The patient is worse at night. Emaciation is rapid.
The first remedy to consider here in its relation with Veratrum album is CAMPHOR. Like the former remedy, it produces coldness and symptoms of collapse. Camphor is better suited to cholera when the discharges are scanty and the nausea marked. Sometimes, the upper lip will be drawn upwards, showing the teeth, making the nauseous expression of the face more hideous. The entire body is cold. The voice is squeaky or high-pitched.
JATROPHA CURCAS produces an even closer picture of cholera than does Veratrum. It causes vomiting of ropy albuminous matters with purging.
PODOPHYLLUM resembles Veratrum album in that it produces a perfect picture of cholera morbus. It is especially indicated, when the case is characterized by absence of pain. Herein, it is very different from Veratrum. The attacks generally come on during the summer. The stools are watery and come out with a gush and a splutter like water from a hydrant. There is marked loathing of food. The bowels are more apt to move after midnight and towards morning. The stools are very liable to change color.
There is a remedy which is I think better suited to the summer complaint of children than is Veratrum. I refer to IRIS VERSICOLOR. It produces marked inflammatory symptoms, with excoriated raw feeling at the anus. The patient is worse at two or three o’clock in the morning. There are nausea and sour and sometimes bilious vomiting. The stools are either watery or are yellowish-green and mixed with bile or oily particles.
PULSATILLA is called for in an after-midnight diarrhoea caused by a diet of pastry, etc.; or by eating ice-cream immediately after a meal.
CROTON TIGLIUM comes in when the movements are yellowish or yellowish-green, pouring out with a rush or splutter, like water from a hydrant. They are provoked by every attempt to eat or drink.
ELATERIUM is the remedy for profuse watery stools when they are of an olive-green color.
I have often found Veratrum album useful for cardiac debility following acute diseases, when the heart muscle becomes so weak that the pulse is thread-like. The patient faints on moving. On lying down, the face is red, on sitting up, it turns deathly pale. Often you will find the hands cold and clammy.